Having a three-year starting point guard back, head coach Joe Vanzo has a team leader on the floor for the 2017-18 Hillsboro Hiltoppers.

They hit the road for a tough early season tournament against some good competition at the Carlyle Kaskaskian Classic.

Six-foot-two senior Drake Paden has run the show the past three seasons for Coach Vanzo and he will continue in that role.

The Hiltoppers are coming off of a season in which they reached the regional title game on their home floor, losing to Trenton-Wesclin in overtime last February.

They also have four other starters to replace, including 1,000-point scorer Steven Penske from that 18-13 club that went 7-2 in the South Central Conference.

Six-foot-three senior Peyton Tester also returns after missing the majority of last year with a broken foot.

Also look for Alex Schreiber, a 6-foot-2 senior guard, to return to the roster after sitting out his junior season. He earned a letter as a sophomore.

Grant Hamby, a 6-foot-2 senior forward, 5-foot-11 senior Kaiden White, 5-foot-10 senior guard Christian Hernandez, 6-foot-2 senior Dillon Civitate and 5-foot-11 senior Keaton Pruett round out the senior class for Coach Vanzo.

“I think our seniors are the key this year. We have a great group of guys that experienced a lot of highs and lows, both individually and as a team, last season. Ultimately, they will decide what kind of year we will have,” said Coach Vanzo, who is entering his eighth season as the head coach at Hillsboro.

OUTLOOK – This coach has done some good things in his stay at the school and look for more wins than losses this season. The Hiltoppers (yes, it is one “L”) should be in the thick of the race in the SCC and they are not without postseason hope. Paden is a veteran who should help stabilize things on the floor and eight total seniors should account for a lot of minutes.

N21 @ Shelbyville J13-20 Litchfield Invitational Tournament


Carlyle Kaskaskian Classic J23 Williamsville
D5 Raymond-Lincolnwood J26 @ Greenville
D8 Pana F2 @ Carlinville
D16 @ Champaign St. Thomas More F8 Staunton
D19 @ Vandalia F9 @ Nokomis
D22 Glen Carbon (IL.) Father McGivney F10 Auburn
D26-29 Carlinville Holiday Tournament F13 @ Piasa Southwestern
J5 @ Litchfield F16 Roxana
J9 Gillespie F19-23 IHSA Regional TBD